I figured I was long overdue for a new mix (plus, I keep losing followers every time I post something non-music related). Unfortunately there’s no cohesive theme here; it’s basically just a random assortment of crap I’ve been listening to. What’s inside:
Troller “__” (This is just to avoid the Soundcloud copyright bots.)
Illum Sphere “Embryonic (featuring Shadowbox)”
Cibo Matto “Hotel Valentine” (I’ll write more about this later.)
Orchestra of Spheres “Numbers” (I meant to make an individual post about them but slacked off. This is actually a pretty impressive debut, and this track is catchy as hell.)
The process of cloaking characters in unlikable flaws to heighten their complexity only works when the character still comes across as human, compelling. Too often newbie writers in their haste to create unique, fully-dimensional characters overdo it. They throw in a mental illness, make a character overly narcissistic, and then when people complain that the character is unlikable the writer stands back and says, “Yeah, but isn’t that the point?” But it’s not. The goal should be to write characters that come across as real. Of course they’ll be flawed and they won’t be perfect, but they should be more than walking symbols, and that’s where Girls gets it wrong. The unlikable characters of Girls are more like shells, empty vessels cloaked in their complexity but missing their souls. More…
I told a tiny fib in this piece. My professor said my character was “a complete psychopath,” not “unlikable.” Although I’m sure she would have said that too.
I remember reading a lot about pornography when I was studying film. Back in the days. And I was really fascinated about the similarities between documentary and pornography, because it presents itself as this reality. Because it’s really happening. The sex is actual sex. This is, of course, hardcore pornography I’m talking about. And I was just fascinated with the realness of it. How real is it when it’s filmed and styled and oiled?
So I’ve always been quite fascinated with that level of reality, I guess. Which is a very sort of gray area of reality. And now with reality TV, which is something I have been avoiding, but started watching when I was doing this performance project. That was the start of this: I kind of got into trying to understand that reality level a little bit, as well. This album is playing different interpretations or manipulations, or using the concept of the real in visual culture and genres of TV and visuals, that take a certain level of reality for granted. It’s very manipulative. And also a lot about young women exposing their bodies. And exposing, maybe, their innocence. Some type of innocence.
Japanese dream pop artist Sapphire Slows (real name Kinuko Hiramatsu) is quickly becoming the face of the increasingly westernized bedroom pop scene in Tokyo. Her album Allegoria was surprisingly one of my favorite albums of 2013, and her trademark sound of silky vocals and icy electro puts her in the same vein as similar artists like Peaking Lights and Blue Hawaii. This performance video of track “Allegoria,” jointly produced by Dazed Digital and All Saints,” is a part of Dazed’s “New Music Cities” series that showcases upcoming artists in cities around the globe. You can see the documentary in its entirely on All Saint’s website. The full video includes other Toky0-based artists like Emufucka and Nisennenmondai.
And just when I thought the bedroom pop scene was dead for good…
Vanilla Ice is selling Kraft macaroni and cheese now. The dudes of Full House are selling Greek yogurt. Boyz II Men recently made a cameo on How I Met Your Mother. This year’s Super Bowl featured, of all people, Flea. We are having, in other words, a moment of ’90s nostalgia, one occasioned in part by millennials (or The Youths or Those Kids or whatever you want to call them) who are aging into adulthood and therefore eager to relive their childhoods.
Nostalgia, the copious literature on it suggests, comes in two basic forms. One is organic, the kind that washes over you when you see an old picture of yourself and your cousins, aged 7 and 9 and 10, giggling maniacally while innertubing on Lake Michigan. The kind that emergences unexpectedly, as a kind of pleasant pang—the stuff of sudden songs and serendipitous scents and sour-sweet Madeleines.
The other form—the form that may well feel most familiar to us at this point—is a media product. It’s the re-introduction of Uncle Joey or Dawson’s Creek'sJoey or Blossom's Joey, appropriated to arouse a vague sense that we have lost something as we’ve moved, inexorably, into our futures. This form of nostalgia is usually invoked, in one way or another, to sell us stuff. And you could, because of that, dismiss its validity (fauxstalgia?). But it will live on, inevitably, because media producers know exactly what advertisers have long understood: that nostalgia, like sex, sells.
Wow, as someone who has always been cynical about ’90s nostalgia, I never noticed the manipulative nature the media was using it for. I wonder what ‘00 nostalgia would look like? "Don’t you miss flared jeans??"
French-Belgian trio Antena never received proper praise for their 1982 classic Camino del Sol. In fact, the album was considered a failure when it was originally released and was blamed for bankrupting their label. But thanks to recent reissues and compilations, the album is now considered a classic. Both Boomkat and Fact Mag list this album as one of their favorite ’80s albums, and I think I might have to add it to mine as well. Full of eclectic bossa nova and “electro samba,” the album was clearly a victim of being too ahead of its time. The 2013 reissue includes a bonus song (the weirdly produced cover of “The Boy From Ipanema”) and an extra disc of live recordings.
While we’re on the subject of love today, I want to recommend my all-time favorite romance film, although I’m using the word “romance” lightly. Oasis is a film about unconventional love, a topic the film industry doesn’t always handle too well. The film, directed by Chang-dong Lee, is about two people, one mentally handicapped, the other physically handicapped, that fall in love and try to build a relationship together despite the backlash from their families. The entire film is free to stream online.
'Tis the Season for Sarcastic, Passive Aggressive Valentine's Day Cards Look at me! I hate this holiday, can’t you tell? Can’t you tell from my clever sarcasm and thinly veiled sense of disgust that’s as subtle as an approaching subway train?? Watch me as I profit from the very thing I hate. And I’m the first person to ever do this. No one has ever thought to do this except me. Oh, and I accept payments through PayPal, thank you.
(…a.k.a. I’m sick of running into these things every day on Behance/Tumblr.)
Tweaked the layout a little bit last night out of boredom. Now the design represents web 3.0!1!one! Ridiculously large fonts! Fluid design! No fixed width containers! Menu that stretches all the way across the screen! Fortunately I spared you from infinite scroll and sticky headers (I mean, I’m not a sadist).
Odds are if you belong to marginalised group, you are saddled with a stigma against being angry. Women, people of colour, people with disabilities, trans people, the poor and labouring classes, all face various and specific stigmas for being “too loud” or “too angry.” There are paradigmatic stereotypes in the particular, as well, “Angry Black Wo/Man,” “Angry Tranny,” “Feisty Latina,” “Dragon Lady,” “class warrior,” and so on, with which we are all painfully familiar in one way or another. It was with noble intentions that many of us rallied around the idea that “tone policing” was an oppressive construct meant to deny us the eminent humanity and cleansing fire of anger. We had a right to be angry, as surely as anyone else; moreso, even. Oppression ought to make one angry.
But in the process, “the tone argument” came to be understood less as a complex piece of social machinery than an easily identifiable trope; it then became a badge that could be waved at will in any discussion to absolve one of responsibility for their words. Even though we as leftists quite literally wrote the book(s) on why and how language matters, we suspend that understanding when it comes to our own community members because we have come to value the sanctity of their anger over the integrity of the wider group. Some of us excuse this on the grounds that we provide the only safe place for certain people to express anger without being shamed for it, and that living with oppression leaves us with pent up rage that demands expression.
The individual catharsis, then, comes to matter more than the collective, and responsibility to a wider community is blurred, if not quite lost.
It’s why it was difficult for many in the trans community to challenge the #DieCisScum hashtag, for example, because any who questioned it would be charged with “tone policing” and denying the community’s right to be angry. But the problem always was that this pseudo-therapeutic exercise in catharsis only made a few people feel better while starting a violently unnecessary and unhelpful discussion with hordes of cis people who laid their own hurt and anger at every trans person’s door. It took a tarring brush to the entire community for next to no meaningful gain, other than sticking it to “our oppressors” for the benefit of a handful.
This essay is by far one of the most eloquent things I’ve read about the rising trend of online activism/slacktivism/social justice (or whatever you want to call it) that runs rampant across Tumblr, ONTD, Jezebel, and other sites. Quinnae Moongazer accurately explains in-depth the issues with the movement, the same issues that I’ve been having with it as well.
Hello, Tiffany here. This site used to exist in the dark corners of Wordpress but was moved to the sunnier side of Tumblr in 2011. Here you'll find sporadic musings about popular culture, along with the occasional Polar Bear's Cafe gif (because why not?). Bloggin' since 2003!